El Calafate is a city in Patagonia, Argentina. It is situated on the southern border of Lake Argentino, in the southwest part of the Santa Cruz Province, about 320 km Northwest of Río Gallegos.
We spent 4 days in El Calafate and El Chalten and have put together the perfect itinerary for anyone planning a short trip to Patagonia.
I recommend arriving early. We arrived at 11:55 am by plane. I also recommend renting a car. I always find renting a car is a lot more fun and flexible. There are some car rental places at the airport. But I will advise you to rent it in advance online. Before checking in, we drove straight to Parque Nacional Los Glaciares to see Glaciar Perito Moreno. It is around 97km, 1.5 hours away from the airport.
The entry ticket for the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares is 800 pesos per person. The park is pretty big with tons of different trails. Most trails are very nice. We walked and explored around for 3 hours. Then back to El Calafate town. We stayed in an incredible cabin which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you to stay there. It is not near the centre but the view is amazing and a much better place to see the stars. We stayed at Cabanas Los Maitines. It is perfect for 4 people.
We woke up cooked breakfast and at 11:00 am we hit the road. We drove from El Calafate to El Chalten. It is around 214km and it takes within 4 hours. But there are tons of amazing viewpoints. So you might make some stops to snap some pics. We stayed in an incredible place again. It is called Bonanza Eco Aventura Camping. P.S. It is 12km from the centre of El Chalten. There is no internet. After 11 pm, there is no light. You will have to bring your own food to cook. I really enjoyed staying there. I recommend you to stay there too, you will have a very different experience. As for day 2 activities, we didn’t really do much. We were just chilling and enjoying the view next to the campsite. Also, rested before the big hike on day 3.
We woke up at 8:30 am, had breakfast and walked to the entry point for our hike from our campsite (4km). REMEMBER to pack lunch, some fruits and bring at least 2L of water per person. It was not the typical entry point as we had to cut through a small hotel (Hostería El Pilar) that sits right by one of the entrances to the park. We reached the trail we were looking for, Senda El Pilar, which we took and followed the Río Blanco facing first Torre Eléctrica and its glacier. There are quite a few spots to stop for great pictures of Fitz Roy. Then, we got to a point with a great view of Fitz Roy and the Piedras Blancas.
After that, at Poincenot camp, Senda El Pilar would end. From Poincenot, we went up to Laguna de Los Tres. For this hike, I recommend you to wear hiking shoes. This hike takes 1 hour but it actually takes more than that due to the difficulty of the hike. But the view is worth every step on the way.
Enjoy the view and walk around the area. Also, rest your legs cuz going down is even more difficult. We calculated how long this hike takes and it took us almost 9 hours including rests and lunch break. It was 26km in total. After this hike, we were exhausted. But what an incredible hike.
We slept in a little bit and cooked breakfast then hit the road again. We drove back to El Calafate main town and FINALLY be able to use the internet. At last, we drove back where it all started, the airport.
*We were actually there for 5 days but one of the days was raining and locals don’t recommend hiking in the rain. So we just chilled and rested for the entire day, that’s why I didn’t put it in the itinerary.
Thank you for reading.